12. On Soulmates

I used to believe that soulmates equated to romantic love. I didn’t know any better: I blame the media. But though soulmates can be romantic, they don’t necessarily have to be. And, most importantly, you don’t know how long they’ll be around. You see, what is the point of soulmates?

Once you figure that out, everything becomes a little simpler, you let go of unecessary burden.

Let me tell you, though, what soulmates are not.

  • They’re not always a shoulder to cry on.

 

  • They won’t fix OR fulfill you. (They can contribute, but not as much as you’d think)

 

  • They won’t be around forever.

 

So, you’ll ask – what is their purpose?

 

The way I see it, soulmates are stepping stones towards personal epiphanies. They teach you a lesson, and once that’s done, they will sooner or later fade away. A soulmate is inconstant, liquid, free. Not yours or anyone’s.

 

And you can have more than one.

 

In A Portrait of a Young Man by James Joyce, Stephen struggles with his perception of women throughout the story. They’re either put on a pedestal, virginal and distant, or warm, creatures of passionate desire and acute sexuality. Never and, always either or. He pines over his childhood sweetheart, he visits prostitutes, he’s terrified of living. His eyes haven’t touched beauty.

 

But all those things can exist at once, or not at all, or be less significant than we make them out to be.

 

Stephen goes to the beach and sees this lovely girl, full of joie de vivre and innocence and laughter, and his heart joins hers for a moment. Epiphany. Women are complex humans and not victims of the Madonna-Whore complex. Once he realizes that, everything changes.

 

Your epiphany could come to you at any moment, it may wake you up at 4.48am or during a glamorous bus ride. It could happen in a Muscovite winter or in a Kenyan spring and it will still have the same effect on you.

 

And maybe that’s why Samuel Beckett broke Lucia Joyce’s heart; maybe that’s what C was to me;

 

But, maybe, not.

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